The following article was originally published in the VC Star on December 17, 2017.
The Las Virgenes Unified School District is on its way to becoming one of the first school districts in the state to be accredited to offer teacher and administrative services credentials.
Through the district's Center for Educational Excellence, launching in January, they'll offer programs for future leaders to become assistant principals and principals. Programming for the preliminary credential for teachers is expected to roll out later in 2018.
Usually, credentials are offered by universities or county offices of education, but the district has met the eligibility criteria through the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing.
"It’s a huge recruitment and retention tool for us our teachers," Dan Stepenosky, superintendent of the district. "It's really exciting for us, we haven't found another school district that has done this. It's a great way to build a sense of community in our schools. It's organic and grassroots."
The credentialing programs will be open to those both in and out of the district.
“A move of this nature takes a visionary superintendent and school board," said Ryan Gleason, director of education and leadership at the district. "This board and this superintendent had a major vision and took a big leap of faith ... to pull something like this off, it's not common in public education to see."
The process of getting accredited took about a year, said Ashley Wenter, credential program coordinator. First, the district needed to be granted institutional approval. Then the district needed to come up with standards for each credentialing program they wanted to offer.
"I think what is exciting for me is the opportunity to impact the path of an educator," Wenter said. "Whether a teacher decides they want to be a mentor or coach while still being a classroom teacher or they want to become an administrator, the idea of providing opportunity for real professional growth is something I really believe in. I used to be a classroom teacher and I miss it, but I will say in this year I miss it less because I feel like I’m doing something really important. It really feels great to be able to impact the path of an educator, I really believe in public education."
Educators who are interested in applying to the administrative programs can visit centeredx.lvusd.org or email Wenter directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.